Samsung has made clear that it’s got a cash horde of more than $20 billion it wants to spend investing in businesses that will in some way lay groundwork for the company’s future growth — businesses that focus on everything from AI to autonomous cars. 5G is also a component of that, as we see today thanks to the company’s announcement of a new acquisition.
Samsung disclosed that it’s acquired Barcelona-based Zhilabs, a network analytics startup, and while Samsung hasn’t shared terms of the deal, it is saying the purpose is pretty straightforward. The acquisition, according to Samsung, is about helping the company get better prepared for the era of widespread 5G availability.
In its announcement, Samsung said that Zhilabs is known for its AI-based network and service analytics. AI-based automation, the hardware giant continues, “will play a central role in the introduction of new services in the 5G era, such as industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and connected cars, as carriers will require automated solutions and network analytics beyond what was possible in previous generations. AI-based transformation can be used to analyze user traffic, classify applications being used, and improve overall service quality, as such needs can no longer be addressed by existing solutions.”
Existing customers of Zhilabs include companies like Vodafone and Telefonica, which rely on it to help get real-time insight into network performance. While it will be fully owned by Samsung, Zhilabs will continue to operate independently under its own management. Samsung went on to say the company is looking forward to teaming up and sharing “joint capabilities” to create new technology as the world evolves from 4G to 5G.
Zhilabs CEO Joan Raventos in a statement explained that 5G technology will disrupt the communications landscape for the better, albeit with this caveat: It will only be successful if the quality of the networks transferring information can be measured and thus improved upon. Samsung, of course, has already teamed up with large carriers to start powering commercial 5G networks. As noted by SamMobile, the company recently conducted tests on commercial 5G network equipment with SK Telecom in South Korea — a test that will result in the launch of mobile router-powered 5G service there by the end of the year.
“5G will enable unprecedented services attributed to the generation of exponential data traffic, for which automated and intelligent network analytics tools are vital,” said Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics.